Saturday, October 24, 2020

Gene Anderson Gets One Last Shot at the NWA Title (1981)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

The great Gene Anderson, original founding member of the famous Anderson family in wrestling, was never known for his singles competition. He was primarily known for being part of a famous tag team known as the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with two different worked-brothers: Lars Anderson in the 1960s and Ole Anderson in the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Photo courtesy of WrestlerWeekly.com
@wrestlerweekly on Twitter
Gene was the silent killer of the team, letting his braggadocious, loudmouth, younger brothers do all the talking. Les Thatcher once noted while calling an Anderson Brothers match on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1975:

"As Teddy Roosevelt said, 'Talk softly and carry a big stick.' You'll hear very little out of Gene Anderson," Thatcher quipped. Gene Anderson carried a very big stick in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

The Andersons were no strangers to tag team championships. They held multiple regional and world championships over several decades. But it was somewhat of a rare occurrence when Gene Anderson received a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight singles title.

He received a few in the early 1970s against champion Dory Funk, Jr., in towns like Norfolk, Richmond, and Raleigh for promoter Joe Murnick, who more than others apparently saw value in putting Gene in the ring on top with Funk.

But after those shots in 1970 and 1971, Gene Anderson's days as a contender for the World Heavyweight singles title ended. To my knowledge, he never got a shot at Harley Race, Jack Brisco, or Terry Funk throughout the remainder of the 1970s. (Someone please let me know if I missed one.)

And then suddenly, almost exactly 10 years after his last NWA title shot on July 7, 1971, Gene gets one last shot at the title again, this time against new NWA champion (and long time rival in the tag team wars) Dusty Rhodes on July 11, 1981 in Spartanburg, SC.


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/andersons.htm

Admittedly, on the surface the booking of this match doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Throughout his career, Gene was predominantly a tag team wrestler and never was in the mix for singles titles. Ole as an opponent made more sense, and indeed Ole was getting several shots at Rhodes during this time. Ole had the long running singles feud with Dusty, particularly in the Georgia Championship Wrestling terriotory. He could also deliver a better promo to promote the match.

Gene Anderson, Bob Caudle, and Ole Anderson
This Spartanburg card was a matinee show at 3:00 PM. Ole is not listed on it, so it's likely he was booked on another spot show town on a matinee card. I've not been able to find a record of any such show at this point. Both Ole and Gene reunited later that same evening in Charlotte for a defense of their NWA World tag team championship against Ricky Steamboat and Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Rhodes and the NWA title weren't on that Charlotte show, so it's safe to assume Rhodes defended the title in some other Crockett town that Saturday night,  but I've not come across any record of a title defense for Rhodes that night.

The Spartanburg newspaper reported the following day that Rhodes had defeated Anderson in the main event. In other action on that 7/11 Spartanburg card, Bad Bad Leroy Brown defeated the Iron Sheik. No other results were listed.


This would be Gene's last shot at the NWA championship. He never got another shot after that, at least none that we have ever come across. (As always, we welcome additional information.) He and Ole were also in their final run as NWA World tag team champions. I kind of like knowing this one last, odd singles title shot was against Dusty Rhodes, who had a long and storied rivalry and feud with the Andersons.

If you've hung around the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for very long, you know we are big fans of the Anderson Brothers. This is a nice little rare piece of Anderson lore to hang on to.


* * * * * * 

Thanks as always to Mark Easteridge for the newspaper clippings. Thanks to Scottie Richardson at @WrestlerWeekly for the poster image. 

Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway July 19, 2017.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Oklahoma Cowboys Arrive at Crockett Cup '85: Round Two Rolls On

MIKE RICKARD'S FANTASY WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
ROUND TWO CONTINUES

Catching up? Here is the background info:
Tournament Announcement
Seedings and First Round Pairings

BRACKETS
Updated brackets going into tonight's matches.
[Links to previous matches at the bottom of this post.]

 

THIS WEEK'S MATCHES: #27 AND #28
(Second Round Matches #111 and #12):

- The Oklahoma Cowboys vs. Roddy Piper and Bob Orton, Jr.
- Dory and Terry Funk vs. Mark and Jay Youngblood 

The 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament is underway. Wait, did you just say 1985? It’s time to take a look at one of wrestling’s biggest events from the mid-80s and see what it might have been like with a few historical alterations. What if Jim Crockett Promotions hosted its tag team tournament the Crockett Cup in 1985 and included teams from promotions outside the National Wrestling Alliance (“NWA”) including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling, and more? In this case, you’d have 48 of the greatest tag teams in the world battling in a winner take all tournament for $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy. 

The first round saw 16 teams competing to advance to round two with eight teams making it in. Now, these eight teams will battle the 16 top-seeded tag teams that received a first-round bye. As we saw in round one, some wrestlers are willing to bend or break the rules in order to get closer to the $1,000,000 prize so expect the unexpected as round two continues.

Second Round Rules: Here are the rules for the round two of our tournament. A pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF have been appointed for the tournament and randomly selected for each match. The second-round matches have a forty-five-minute time limit and are sanctioned under NWA rules (throwing an opponent over the top rope is an automatic disqualification). The matches are one fall with a win obtained by a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. 

The second-round matches are being held over two nights. The first eight matches took place at the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday April 13. The remaining eight matches in round one take place at the Asheville Civic Center on Sunday April 14. Bob Caudle and David Crockett are calling the matches tonight but you never know which announcers from another promotion might show up. In our previous two matches, Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen defeated Steve “Dr. Death” Williams and Ted DiBiase while the Road Warriors beat Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee. As round two continues, bear in mind that these titanic teams are battling for more than just bragging rights—they’re competing for the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Trophy and a cool one million dollars.

Tony Schiavone is backstage and announces there’s a mystery team participating in the next match, a duo known as the Oklahoma Cowboys. Schiavone tells the fans that the masked team petitioned Jim Crockett to participate in the tournament and that he granted their request once they revealed their identities to him. The two masked men walk in with the first one introducing himself as Tex while the other claims his name is Roy. Tony asks them why they’re wrestling under masks. Tex tells Tony there’s not much they can say, but if the other wrestlers knew who they were, they’d never allow them in. Roy tells Tony they’ll unmask after they win the tournament and there are going to be a lot of surprised people. They walk off before Tony can ask any more questions.

Bob Caudle and David Crockett are both perplexed by the masked team’s identity. They send things over to Johnny Weaver, who is about to interview the Oklahoma Cowboys’ opponents, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton. “The Rowdy Scot” looks at Weaver and asks him, “So you’re still wearing that old plaid jacket you’ve had since the 70s, eh Weaver?” Bob Orton Jr. chuckles as “Hot Rod” goes on, “See ya washed out in round one and now they got ya interviewing people. Lot safer this way for you Weaver, but don’t think my bodyguard ‘Ace’ won’t knock you out if you get wise with me.” “The Dean of Wrestling” tells Piper he’s there to interview the two but Piper’s going to go into his match with a fat lip if he doesn’t cut the clowning. Piper says “Okay tough guy. Let’s talk about our next opponents. A couple of cowboys who are hiding behind masks. I never liked masked wrestlers brother and those masks aren’t going to stay on long once me and ‘Ace’ finish things up. The only cowboy in this match is Bob Orton Jr. Nobody never heard of no Oklahoma Cowboys and after we get done with them, nobody will ever see them again.”

The Oklahoma Cowboys vs.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton

The Oklahoma Cowboys come out to polite applause as Bob Caudle notes no one seems to know much about this team other than their credentials were strong enough to impress Jim Crockett. The sound of bagpipes fill the arena as the fans watch a band of bagpipers playing an introduction for Piper and Orton. The two heels take their time as the fans boo them, with security struggling to keep some angry fans away from the team. David Crockett notes that extra security was brought in due to concerns Piper and Orton might cause a riot. Piper and Orton get in the ring as referee Tommy Young checks both teams for foreign objects and any illegal ring gear. Piper motions for Young to check under his kilt and Young shouts something at Piper. Piper takes his kilt off and is laughing at Young. 

Piper and Orton confer and Piper decides to start the match as Tex is in the ring with Roy waiting on the apron. Piper is smiling as he extends a hand to Tex. Tex extends a hand then pulls it back, blocking a slap from Piper and hitting a forearm on Piper. Piper’s not smiling now David Crockett notes as Piper charges Tex, only to get an arm drag takedown that Tex turns into an armbar. Tex applies the pressure as Piper tries to escape, until he’s able to back Tex into the ropes. Piper motions for a clean break and to no one’s surprise unloads with a forearm to Tex’s chest. Tommy Young starts a five count as Piper peppers Tex with punches, then throws him into the ropes. Piper goes for a clothesline but Tex ducks under and bounces off the ropes, hitting a cross bodyblock. Cover on Piper but Piper kicks out before two. Bob Caudle says it’s too early in the match but Tex is trying to throw Piper off his game. Piper gets up and Tex snapmares him down to the mat. Tex bounces off the ropes but gets waylaid by “Cowboy” Bob Orton, who hits a forearm smash to the back of Tex’s head. David Crockett says Orton didn’t use that cast or it would have been lights out for Tex. Bob adds “and a disqualification if the referee saw it.”  

Roddy tags in Orton who drops a knee across Tex’s head. Orton bounces off the ropes and drops an elbow on Tex. Tag to Piper and they both whip Tex into their corner, rocking the masked man. Tag to Orton who hits a suplex on Tex, covering him for barely a two-count. Orton whips Tex into the heel corner where Piper punches Tex. Bob Orton runs towards Roy, but backs off, goading him into the ring. Referee Tommy Young goes to keep Roy out of the ring while Piper begins choking Tex with the ring rope. Orton points to Roy who is arguing with Tommy Young while Piper continues to choke the life out of Tex. David Crockett is screaming for Tommy Young to turn around. Tag to Piper who uses Tex for a punching bag while Orton holds the mysterious masked man in the corner. Piper grabs Tex and delivers a corkscrew neckbreaker, covering Tex for a two-and-a-half count. Piper starts yelling at Tommy Young and as he does, Tex somehow rolls Piper up. Piper reverses with a small package, grabbing the second rope for added leverage. However, Tommy Young sees it and kicks Piper’s hand off the rope. Tex kicks out. Piper is furious and whips Tex into a neutral corner, charging him only for Tex to lift up both his legs. Piper staggers back and comes back towards Tex, only to catch a big left. Piper comes in again, but Tex is firing off lefts and rights as Tommy Young begins a five-count. Piper stands back then falls face first onto the mat. Tex staggers towards his corner and in comes Roy.

Roy whips Piper into the ropes, hitting a dropkick. Roy slams Piper to the mat then targets his legs with elbow drops. Roy picks Piper up, but Piper surprises him with his patented Piper Poke to the eyes. Piper uses the respite to tag in “Cowboy” Bob who charges at Roy only to get arm dragged to the mat. Orton gets up and kicks at Roy, but Roy spins him around, landing an atomic drop that sends him towards Tex. Tex greets him with a big left and when he turns around, Roy lifts him up for a suplex. Roy drops an elbow onto Orton’s knee followed by another. David Crockett says Roy is twisting Orton’s knee in ways it was never meant to go. Orton winces in pain as Roy drops another elbow on Orton’s knee. Roy then takes Orton and locks in the figure four leglock. Piper runs in to make the save, stomping Roy in the head. Tex comes in to even and Piper swings wildly, hitting Tommy Young and knocking the official down to the mat. David Crockett wonders if Piper did this intentionally or not. Tex goes to check on the referee and as he does, Piper lifts up Roy and holds him as “Cowboy” Bob bounces off the ropes and lowers the boom with his forearm cast. Unfortunately, he lowers the boom on his partner as Roy slips out of the way. Orton is looking around and appears shocked. He’s even more shocked when Roy delivers a double underhook suplex then locks in the figure four in the center of the ring. Tex helps Tommy Young get his bearings then heads back to his corner. Piper is out cold in the center of the ring which means Orton has no choice but to submit. 

Winners: The Oklahoma Cowboys

Tommy Young raises the Cowboys’ hands in victory while Orton is still reeling over what’s happened.

Tony Schiavone is backstage and he says “What a match we just saw and what a match we’re about to see. A battle between two teams of brothers, Mark and Jay Youngblood vs. Terry  and Dory Funk Jr.” Terry and Dory walk in and Dory tells Tony, “Not just any brothers, but the only brothers to have held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.” Schiavone asks the team how they plan on overcoming the young team of Mark and Jay Youngblood. Terry tells him “You’ve heard the saying ‘Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance,’ and there’s a reason for it. Dory and him have been wrestling for years and there’s a reason they’re still going strong—few people have beat them in the ring and they’re here to capture one million dollars. Those two egg-sucking dogs the Youngbloods are headed back to the reservation while the Funks are headed to round three.”

Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk vs. Mark and Jay Youngblood
The Funks enter the ring first with the fans unsure whether or not to cheer them. The Youngbloods enter the ring wearing their headdresses. They turn their backs to take them off as Dory and Terry blindside them from behind. Bob Caudle speculates that referee Jerry Calhoun is used to the wild and wooly action in Memphis Wrestling so he signals for the bell as the match begins. Dory rams Jay’s head into the turnbuckle while Terry throws Mark through the ropes. Dory and Terry begin double-teaming Jay, with Terry chopping him and Dory hitting uppercut forearms. However, Jay isn’t having it and stands with his back to the corner, chopping at Terry and Dory. Terry goes down and as Dory goes to grab Jay, Mark grabs his leg and pulls him out of the ring. Mark takes Dory’s head and rams it into the mat apron. 

Jay bodyslams Terry then applies a chinlock. Mark is back in the ring and Jay tags him in. The two whip Terry into the ropes, hitting a double chop. Mark covers Terry for nearly a two count. Mark goes to lock up but Terry stops him with a rake to the eyes, followed by a series of headbutts that daze the youngster. Terry delivers a suplex to Mark before tagging Dory back in.

Dory grabs Mark in a side headlock, going to wear him down. However, Mark slips out, throwing Dory into the ropes and hitting a shoulderblock that sends Funk to the mat. David Crockett tells Bob Caudle that Mark is looking great against the former United States Champion. Bob reminds David that it was Dory’s brother Terry who held the U.S. title. David says “Wow! Look at that!” as Mark dropkicks Dory, knocking him down again. Mark goes for a second dropkick, but Dory slips out of the way. Dory delivers a series of big forearm uppercuts to Youngblood that knock him into the heel corner. Dory grabs Youngblood by the hair and rams his head into the turnbuckle in the heel team’s corner. Tag to Terry who drops a chop on Youngblood while Dory keeps his opponent in an armbar. Double Irish whip followed by a double forearm and Youngblood goes down hard. Terry throws Mark through the ropes onto the cement and starts jawing with the referee. With the referee distracted, Dory picks up Mark and slams him down onto the unforgiving floor. Jay comes over but Bob Caudle points out the damage has been done. Mark staggers up to the mat apron only for Terry to knock him down with a headbutt. The referee starts the ten-count, but Mark makes it in by eight. David Crockett notes that the Funks are two seasoned veterans and are showing why they’re still considered one of wrestling’s greatest tag teams, even if you can’t stand them. Terry helps Mark up with a vertical suplex then tags in Dory. Bob Caudle remarks that these fast tags are keeping the Funks fresh while Youngblood is getting weaker by the moment. Double suplex by the Funks as Dory covers Mark. Jay comes in, breaking up the pin. Terry comes in, brawling with Jay while Dory hits a piledriver on Mark. That’s all she wrote as Dory uses a lateral press to get the 1-2-3. 

Winners: Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk


NEXT TIME: Join us next time as round two of the tournament continues as “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and his mystery partner take on the Dynamic Duo (Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez) while the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff battle Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Which teams will prevail as round two continues and the remaining teams’ quest for tag team immortality and some serious cash continues!

********************************************************

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS FANTASY SERIES
Tournament Announcement
Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced  

SECOND ROUND
Second Round: Matches 1 & 2 (Tournament 17 & 18)

     Mulligan/McDaniel vs. The Russians
    Rock & Roll Express vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
Second Round: Matches 3 & 4 (Tournament 19 & 20)
    Brown/Jannetty vs. Inoki & Sakaguchi
    Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Windham/Rotunda)
Second Round: Matches 5 & 6 (Tournament 21 & 22)

    Midnight Express vs. Hart Foundation
    PYT Express vs. High Flyers
Second Round: Matches 7 & 8 (Tournament 23 & 24) 
    Rude/Barr (with Percy Pringle III) vs. Kevin and Mike Von Erich
    Fujinami/Kimura vs. British Bulldogs
Second Round: Matches 9 & 10 (Tournament 25 & 26)
    Brody/Hansen vs. Williams/DiBiase
    Road Warriros vs. Lawler/Dundee
Second Round: Matches 10 & 11 (Tournament 27 & 28)
    Piper & Orton vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys
    The Funk Brothers vs. The Younglood Brothers


FIRST ROUND

First Round: Matches 1 & 2
    Hennig/Blackwell vs. Mulligan/McDaniel
    Tyler/Whatley vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
First Round: Matches 3 & 4
    Windham/Rotunda vs. Bockwinkel/Saito
    Rougeaus vs. Inoki/Sakaguchi
First Round: Matches 5 &6
    Barbarian/Graham vs. Hart Foundation (Hart/Neidhart)
    High Flyers (Brunzell/Gagne) vs. Savage/Poffo
First Round: Matches 7 & 8:
    The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
    Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs
First Round: Matches 9 & 10:
    Graham/Blair vs. DiBiase/Williams
    Valiant/McGraw vs. Lawler/Dundee
First Round: Matches 11 & 12:
    Piper/Orton vs. Patterson/Fernandez
    Rock & Roll RPMs vs. Youngblood Brothers
First Round: Matches 13 and 14:
    Dynamic Duo (Gino & Chris) vs. American Starship
    Sawyer Bros. vs. Steamboat/Snuka
First Round: Matches 15 and 16
    Batten Twins vs. Fabulous Ones
    Weaver/Houston vs. Sheepherders

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: February 19, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 02/19/83
(taped 03/09/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
THIS PROGRAM IS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE WWE NETWORK 

Unfortunately, the WWE Network does not have the 2/19 nor 2/26 episodes. Here are the TV results in abstract form for 2/19/83:

  • Jack Brisco d. Ken Timbs
  • Mike Rotundo d. Rick Harris
  • Dory Funk, Jr. & Dick Slater d. Rick Morton & Frank Monte
  • Rick Morton d. Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ

Plus, the contract signing between Slaughter & Kernodle and Steamboat & Youngblood.

This page will be updated if more detailed information is found.

*********************************************

Results for the week, 2/14/83-2/20/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 2/14/83 Piedmont, SC; Wren High School
Frank Monte beat Jim Dalton
Dizzy Hogan beat Ricky Harris
Jay Youngblood beat Red Dog Lane
Ricky Steamboat beat Greg Valentine
Don Kernodle & Sgt. Slaughter beat Mike Rotundo & Sweet Brown Sugar

Mon., 2/14/83 Lumberton, NC; Recreation Center
Dory Funk, Jr. vs. Jack Brisco
Plus other matches

Tue., 2/15/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Jack Brisco beat Dory Funk, Jr. in a Texas death match
Plus other matches

Tue., 2/15/83 Burlington, NC
One Man Gang d. Dizzy Hogan
Jimmy Valiant d. Paul Jones
Don Kernodle & Sgt. Slaughter d. Mike Rotundo & Sweet Brown Sugar

Wed., 2/16/83 Charlotte, NC; WPCQ-TV studio
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:
Jack Brisco beat Ken Timbs
Mike Rotundo beat Ricky Harris
Dick Slater & Dory Funk, Jr. beat Frank Monte & Ricky Morton
Dory Funk, Jr. draw Ricky Morton  
World Wide Wrestling:
One Man Gang beat Frank Monte
Jack Brisco beat Bill White
Mike Rotundo beat Johnny Weaver
Dick Slater & Dory Funk, Jr. beat Ron Rossi & Ricky Morton

Fri., 2/18/83 Richmond, VA; Richmond Coliseum
The Ninja beat Ricky Morton
Jim Nelson beat Jim Dalton
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle by DQ
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang
Roddy Piper beat Dick Slater

Fri., 2/18/83 Charleston, SC; County Hall
Frank Monte beat Ken Timbs
Johnny Weaver & Tommy Gilbert beat Gene Anderson & Red Dog Lane
Dory Funk, Jr. no contest with Sweet Brown Sugar
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Greg Valentine & Terry Funk 

Sat., 2/19/83 Newberry, SC
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco vs. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Greg Valentine vs. Sweet Brown Sugar
Ken Timbs vs. Frank Monte
Vinnie Valentino vs. Masa Fuchi

Sun., 2/20/83 Greensboro, NC; Greensboro Coliseum
Red Dog Lane beat Ricky Morton
Dizzy Hogan & Red Dog Lane beat Ricky Harris & Bill White
Jack Brisco beat Paul Jones
Dick Slater beat Jerry Brisco
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang in a New York street fight
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Ric Flair & Greg Valentine
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle beat Terry Funk & Dory Funk, Jr.

Sun., 2/20/83 Columbia, SC;  Township Auditorium
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Dory Funk, Jr. & Red Dog Lane (sub for Terry Funk)
Dick Slater beat Mike Rotundo to win NWA Mid Atlantic Television Title
Jimmy Valiant beat Oliver Humperdink
Greg Valentine beat Sweet Brown Sugar
Gene Anderson beat Dizzy Hogan
Tommy Gilbert beat The Ninja
Frank Monte beat Masa Fuchi

Sun., 2/20/83 Toronto, Ontario;  Maple Leaf Gardens
Rudy Kay & Nick DeCarlo draw Jim Nelson & Tim Gerrard
Johnny Weaver beat Bobby Bass
The Destroyer beat Terry Kay
Leo Burke double countout with Tony Parisi
Sal Bellomo beat Ray Stevens by DQ
Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt Kernodle in a boot camp match
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Terry Funk (sub for Roddy Piper)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Paul Jones' Big Surprise in Charlotte (1977)

by Dick Bourne and Mark Eastridge
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

PART FIVE
Paul Jones was a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling mainstay thought most of the decade of the 1970s, but spent time in Florida and Georgia, too, including several months in the Peach State in the spring and early summer of 1977.

As we continue our look at the talent exchange between the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories that year (first described here), we see that Jones was a big part on both ends of the deal. He first visited Georgia while a regular in the Mid-Atlantic, but also briefly came home to Charlotte while a regular in Georgia.

Jones was first a visitor to Augusta, Georgia (ground zero in Georgia of these exchanges) on 2/14/77 when he came in to face Gene Anderson on a card that also featured the Mid-Atlantic tag champs Jerry Brown and Buddy Roberts (the Hollywood Blondes) in to face Georgia champs Mr. Wrestling I & II. He subsequently moved to the Georgia territory full time until returning later that summer.

While Jones was away in Georgia, the feud between the Anderson Brothers and the championship team of Ric Flair and Greg Valentine reached yet another boiling point where the two teams met in a cage match for the NWA world tag team championships on 5/8 with Wahoo McDaniel assigned as the special referee. The match took place at the Charlotte Coliseum. 

The Anderson Brothers regained the titles that night, but Flair and Valentine injured Ole Anderson after the match with a stuff-piledriver (rarely seen in that era) and were in the process of injuring Wahoo as well. 

Out of nowhere, Paul Jones appeared at ringside and entered the cage to a huge surprise pop, coming ot the aid of his former partner and cleaning house of Flair and Valentine. The visual of Paul with his old partner Wahoo McDaniel standing side by side with the Anderson Brothers was a surreal scene for most Mid-Atlantic fans. The two teams had some of the most memorable matches ever over the tag titles during the years 1975 and 1976.

Add caption
 
Paul's appearance was a great surprise to the fans live in Charlotte. He hadn't been in the Mid-Atlantic area for months and was not advertised on that 5/8 Charlotte card, so fans had no idea he was even in the building.

We've included video from YouTube below of Paul making the save. The audio on this is somewhat muted, although I think you'll get the idea of how excited the crowd was to see Paul make that save. He had been a huge fan favorite in the area for years. My favorite part of this was the reaction of one fan seated near the 16mm camera filming this action. If you listen carefully, you can hear his excitement rise as Paul begins to clean house. "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!!" he says over and over. There was nothing quite like a surprise appearance by a big name back in the day when you weren't expecting it. Still isn't today.

Paul Jones followed up his surprise appearance on 5/8 in Charlotte with a scheduled match there the following Monday night 5/16 at the Park Center where he challenged Ric Flair for the Mid-Atlantic TV title. Paul defeated Flair, but only after the 15 minute time limit had expired where the TV title was on the line.

These were the only two known appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area by Jones during this time period, and the second one on 5/16 was his only announced appearance.

On a side note, this was the show the night before the mixed card in Augusta on Monday 5/9 that we reviewed last time (in Part Four of this series) where the local Sunday morning newspaper in Augusta gave away the result of Sunday night's title change in Charlotte before it had actually happened.

Enjoy this 16mm film footage of Paul Jones making the save in the cage in Charlotte.
Paul enters the cage at the 3:36 mark.




Next: Wahoo McDaniel returns a favor on a visit to Augusta, GA.

Originally published October 14, 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

* * * * * * * * * *


Previous installments in the Mid-Atlantic/Georgia Talent Exchange Feature:
Part One: Paul Jones and the Hollywood Blondes in Augusta
Part Two: Thunderbolt Patterson tours the Mid-Atlantic area
Part Three: The Mid-Atlantic Challengers in Augusta 5/9
Part Four: Georgia Fans Find Out About World Tag Title Change - Before It Happens

 

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Book CROWN JEWEL Available Now!

 

For more information on this book, visit the Crown Jewel book page
in the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store.


Trial Run: The Origins of Ric Flair's First Babyface Turn (1979)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

 
Featuring exclusive vintage audio of Ric Flair
and Rich Landrum from 1979!

This is a look at an interesting point in wrestling history, something that never would - - or never could - - happen today.

In 1979, Jim Crockett Promotions booker George Scott finally pulled the trigger on something he had known he would eventually do for the last year or so - - turn Ric Flair babyface.

Photo by Peggy Lathan
Looking back, it's curious how Scott went about it. I'm not sure he completely trusted his decision. The most effective turns in wrestling were always taking a babyface or heel who was hot, but close to perhaps running out of steam in that role, and making the turn before the heat started to cool. You could argue there was no cooling down Flair even if you wanted to, but in reality, had been the top heel for three years and had long protracted feuds with Wahoo McDaniel, Ricky Steamboat, and Blackjack Mulligan, and there wasn't another top level babyface to marry Flair to that would have the impact those programs had. And a lot of fans loved him regardless.

But Flair had been so generally hated as a heel, that Scott seemed unsure if the fans would readily accept or trust Flair as a "good guy." Plus, he would be losing his number one heel if it flopped.

So George Scott made the decision to drag it out over a couple of months, beginning with what in hindsight looks like almost a trial run in Greensboro to see what the reaction would be. 

Indeed the fans in person at the Greensboro Coliseum and those watching on Greensboro television were the only fans who saw the initial phase of Flair's historic first turn take place.
 

THE CARD IN GREENSBORO
The April 22, 1979 card at the Greensboro Coliseum was the place it first started with no early indication going into it that something like this was getting ready to happen.  

The Greensboro cards were usually pretty loaded, and this was no different with four big main events featuring two Mid-Atlantic-territory title matches and two world title matches featuring both the NWA  and AWA World Heavyweight champions. 

  • AWA champ Nick Bockwinkel was in the middle of a tour of the Mid-Atlantic area defending his AWA title during an odd period where he was making more title defenses here than Race, although none of them had an angle or story with them. But it was a treat to get to see a technician like Bockwinkel on our cards. He defended the title that night against Paul Orndorf, one half of the current NWA World Tag Team Champions.
  • Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat were continuing their 5-month feud over the NWA TV title that had begun when Jones turned on Steamboat (although that's not the way Jones remembered it) the previous December in a memorable angle that took place during a huge two-ring battle royal.  Jones had held the TV during all of that time, Steamboat trying again and again to take it from him, being frustrated at every turn. This match was to be the culmination of the feud for awhile, the two settling things in a Texas Death Match!
  • Ric Flair was defending the U.S. title that night against the popular "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, the other half of the current NWA World Tag Team champions with Orndorf. This was of course before roles were reversed five months later and Snuka would win the U.S. title in a tournament as a new heel managed by Buddy Rogers, and Flair would be the challenger.
  • In the main event, Harley Race defended the NWA title against Dino Bravo, who had just recently lost his Canadian Heavyweight Championship, but remained a top contender both in Canada and the U.S. for Race's title. He had recently been the top contender for Ric Flair's U.S. title as well.
  • Wrestlers on the undercard included former WWWF champion Pedro Morales, Big John Studd, Don Kernodle, Abe Jacobs, Leo Burke, and others.


THE ANGLE: PART ONE
Flair later claimed that Paul Jones had approached him about "holding his hand" in his title defense against Steamboat, Flair saying Jones was paranoid that Steamboat was getting close to beating him. None of this happened on the main TV programs, and if it happened at all, it perhaps was mentioned in the local Greensboro promos leading up to the April 22 card. 

The match was a Texas Death match, but as was the case in those days, Jones' TV championship was only up for grabs in the first fifteen minutes of the match.

Flair did indeed show up during the match, sitting in a folding steel chair at ringside. When the wild action spilled out of the ring onto the floor and Steamboat was getting the better of Jones, Ric went to Jones’ aid and attempted to hit Steamboat with a chair. But Ricky ducked, and Flair instead nailed Jones with the chair, knocking him out cold. Steamboat won the match because Jones was unable to answer the 10-count after the Flair chair shot. While he had won the Texas Death match,he didn't win the TV title, which was only on the line for the first 15 minutes of the match (TV title rules at the time) and the Texas Death match had gone 35 minutes and six falls!

Needless to say, even though Flair claimed it was all an accident (and it certainly appeared it was), Jones was plenty angry with the Nature Boy for costing him the match.

THE ANGLE: PART TWO
Later that evening, Flair was defending the U.S. title against Jimmy Snuka, and as in the earlier match, action spilled out of the ring and onto the floor. As Snuka and Flair brawled outside, Jones suddenly appeared with his own folding steel chair and whacked Flair with it from behind. Except in this case, it was clearly no accident. Jones was aiming for Flair and it was payback for what happened in his match with Steamboat. Flair was also knocked out, and Snuka won the match (but not the title) by count-out.  

Moments later, a revived but visibly angry Flair grabbed the house mic and screamed for Jones to return to the ring. Jones didn't return but the ring announcer announced that Flair and Jones would face each other one-on-one at the next Coliseum show on May 5.   


THE PRESENTATION

A specially-taped two-minute segment aired on the TV shows that aired in the Greensboro market the afternoon of May 5 card at the Coliseum. The segment aired in place of the normal mid-show interview in the Greensboro TV market. So only fans in that market saw it.  It featured World Wide Wrestling host Rich Landrum with Flair in the empty WRAL studio reviewing film from both of the matches outlined above, with Flair giving his perspective on both.

Flair pleaded his case to Landrum that it was an accident that he hit Jones with the chair and was furious that Jones had intentionally hit him with a chair in retaliation, which cost Flair his match with Jimmy Snuka. 


Listen to Ric Flair and Rich Landrum:

The local promos for the Flair/Jones battle featured Jones with the other heels as normal, which signaled to fans that Jones wasn't turning back babyface, in case some fans might have thought that. Flair did not appear on the babyface side (having had his earlier segment with Landrum) but Ricky Steamboat spoke in Flair's spot, mentioning that he didn't have love for either guy and hoped this match might eliminate both of them. 

The rest of the Mid-Atlantic territory knew nothing of this happening, and Flair continued as a heel for the next month or so with most people unaware of his sudden feud with fellow-heel Paul Jones. 

Flair won the match with Jones on 5/5 when Jones was disqualified for the interference of Baron Von Raschke. They gave Flair a vicious beating which started building sympathy for Flair. On the very next show in Greensboro 5/20/79, Flair solicited the aid of his old tag team partner Big John Studd to challenge Jones and Von Raschke for their NWA World tag team titles. Notice Flair was not asking for help from the babyface side of the roster.....yet. His teaming with Studd signaled he wasn't becoming an official fan-favorite anytime soon. 


THE AFTERMATH

The two films from Greensboro 4/22/79 that were shown to Greensboro fans on 5/5/79 were not shown to the rest of the territroy until later in May, and Flair faced Jones again for the first time since their 5/5 Greensboro match in Charlotte on 5/26. 

Throughout the month of May and into early June, Flair continued to team with the various heels including former tag partner Big John Studd and Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd. He defended his U.S. title against most of the popular wrestlers in the territory during that time, including Dino Bravo, Ricky Steamboat, Tony Atlas,  Rufus R. Jones, and a visiting Dusty Rhodes. 

Things finally started to shift in June, as Flair began to solicit the "good guys" to be his partner, beginning with  Dusty Rhodes in Greensboro on 6/3 and Jim Brunzell in Asheville and Raleigh. He eventually persuaded a reluctant Ricky Steamboat into being his partner on 6/23 in Charlotte, and the turn weas complete. From that point forward, Flair was a card carrying member of the "good guy" brigade, and quickly became one of the fan's favorites. 

Flair would continue to battle Jones in singles matches throughout the summer, and take Steamboat as a partner in failed attempts to take the tag titles from Jones and Raschke. It wasn't until August that Flair finally took the tag titles when he reunited with former friend and foe Blackjack Mulligan and the pair took the titles from Kones and Raschke in dramatic fashion in Greensboro. 


THE BUDDY ROGERS EFFECT

Not only did the long war with Paul Jones set up Flair's eventual babyface turn, but happening a short time after in June was "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers' entry into the area as a special referee for a match between Flair and Dusty Rhodes for Flair's U.S. title. Rogers was involved in the finish which made it briefly appear that Rhodes had defeated Flair for the title. This created animosity between Flair and Rogers and fans sided with Flair in that conflict, too. The Rogers affair was all part of the larger story to turn Flair babyface.


Flair's slow-burn babyface turn would hardly be possible today. No one would have the patience to do it that way for any number of reasons we're all familiar with. The unique aspect to this, though, was the "trial run" George Scott booked in Greensboro. It was part of what made the year 1979 a special one in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.  

Special thanks to Mark Eastridge.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: February 12, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 02/12/83
(taped 02/09/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network Direct Link to this show Mid-Atlantic 02/12/83
WWE Network feed.   [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.] 

[CLIP] Slaughter & Kernodle vs. Steamboat & Youngblood
We are in an unnamed arena. Youngblood is dominating Kernodle. David Crockett & Johnny Weaver are on the mic. We cut to Caudle in the studio, who says we’ll see the conclusion of the match later.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sir Oliver Humperdink
Humperdink is back and complaining about Jimmy Valiant. He ran out Ivan Koloff. Jos LeDuc is laid up in a hospital. He hurt Humperdink, splitting his head open. He stole his money. Now, he wants Valiant in a match. It doesn’t matter when.

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jerry Brisco
Just a brief comment from Jerry, wearing a suit, as we head to the next match.

Match 1
Jack Brisco d. Rick Harris

Stu Schwartz is the referee for the hour. Brisco lavishes praise on his brother. Caudle mentions there is a new manager around, but doesn’t reveal who. Brisco wins with the Figure Four.

[Break]

Match 2
Mike Rotundo & Jerry Brisco d. Dick Slater & Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ

Dick Slater & Dory Funk, Jr. are in the ring. Rotundo doesn’t seem to have a partner. It’s supposed to be Tommy Gilbert. Rotundo goes to the interview area, and jaws with Paul Jones, resplendent in a periwinkle tuxedo. Slater is willing to make it a singles match. After taunting by Jones, Rotundo gets in the ring with Funk. Slater sticks around, and gets on the apron and tags in! So much for the singles match. Caudle vociferously complains. Rotundo has now chance. Jerry Brisco comes along and pulls Rotundo out of the ring. Brisco, still in his dress clothes wants in. And apparently it’s allowed. Rotundo kicks out of a Funk piledriver. Wild action. Jerry reverses a Funk spinning toe hold into a Figure Four. Slater breaks it up. Slater tosses the referee out for the DQ. Jack Brisco makes the save.

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Mike Rotundo
Rotundo says Slater & Funk will pay for that. Mike is fired up! His best interview thus far. Mike calls himself a country boy!He thanks the Briscos for their help. 

[Break]

[CLIP] Terry Funk vs. Jerry Grey
Caudle throws to a tape from Florida. It’s a match from the Tampa TV studio. A bunkhouse match to boot. Funk has cowboy boots, jeans, chaps, and an orange shirt that says “Dusty Sucks Eggs.” Tommy Young is the referee, even in Florida. All Funk and gets the pin after nailing Grey with his boot.
[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Dick Slater
Slater has no remorse for beating on Rotundo earlier. Slater is with Gary Hart, the new manager eluded to earlier. He runs down the Briscos and “Rodney” Piper. Fans chant “traitor.”
Gary Hart says Great Kabuki has been deported. He is looking for wrestlers to take on Ric Flair. He is willing to spend some money.

Personal observation: I didn’t see Slater until 1989 in WCW, and he was terrible. Every subsequent WCW appearance was even worse. When Dave Metlzer compared his style to Terry Funk, and others said Slater was one of the best in the world, I had no idea what they were talking about it. Dick Slater 1983 shows what they were talking about. He was great. He did use Funk’s style in the ring, persona, interviews. Wow.

[Break]

[CLIP] Slaughter & Kernodle vs. Steamboat & Youngblood
Caudle throws back to the Slaughter & Kernodle vs. Steamboat & Youngblood match. Babyfaces have the advantage. Youngblood locks on the Cobra clutch on Kernodle. Slaughter makes the dramatic save. The match has two referees. The heels try to leave, but Steamboat won’t let them. Things are breaking down. The fighting continues, and the referees can’t control it, and the match is eventually stopped. Crockett keeps on saying law and order ahs to take place. For the record, this is taped 2/05/83 in Greensboro. 

After the match, Crockett is talking with Sandy Scott (from the World Wide show). Scott brings in Slaughter & Kernodle, and tells them they will levy one of the biggest fines. Slaughter was upset over the fine, but paid it willingly. But, they are finished with Steamboat & Youngblood. No more matches. Scott says no. One more match. It will be in March. Slaughter says no, they are on vacation in March. Scott tells them it will be in a cage. Slaughter goes nuts.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sweet Brown Sugar & Dizzy Hogan
This is in lieu of local interviews. Sugar: We’re pretty good specimens of manhood. Sugar likes the way his team is developing. Hogan likes teaming up too. 

[Break]

Match 3
Sweet Brown Sugar & Dizzy Hogan d. Ken Timbs & Jim Dalton

Gary Hart is out, and has some comments about scouting Sugar & Hogan before the match. Caudle says Sugar & Hogan are unlikely to sign with Hart. He retorts people didn’t think Reagan would get elected. Hart likes the moves of Sugar & Hogan, but they don’t have brains. They need advice. Hart says his Chicago attorney, Saul Liebowitz, can help with Slaughter & Kernodle’s situation. Hogan powerslams Timbs for the pin.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Steamboat talks about the wildness with Slaughter & Kernodle. Sandy Scott comes out and says they have been fined too. Steamboat’s jaw drops. Steamboat & Youngblood confer. The ask how long they have to pay. Scott says one week, before the official contract signing. Youngblood looks despondent. Steamboat is aghast when Scott says the match will be in a cage. Steamboat is happy about that. They’ll find the fine money.

“So long for now!”

*********************************************************

Results for the week, 2/07/83-2/13/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 2/07/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Vinnie Valentino beat Frank Monte
Jack Brisco beat Dory Funk, Jr.
Johnny Weaver & Jerry Brisco beat Gene Anderson & Masa Fuchi
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle in a boot camp match
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Mike Rotundo

Tue., 2/08/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Porkchop Cash & Vinnie Valentino beat Ken Timbs & Jim Dalton
Johnny Weaver beat Gene Anderson
Jay Youngblood beat Dory Funk, Jr.
Dick Slater beat The Champ
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle by DQ
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Ricky Steamboat

Wed., 2/09/83 Charlotte, NC; WPCQ-TV studio
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:
 Jack Brisco beat Ricky Harris
Jerry Brisco & Mike Rotundo beat Dick Slater & Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ
Dizzy Hogan & Sweet Brown Sugar beat Jim Dalton & Ken Timbs
World Wide Wrestling:
Dizzy Hogan & Sweet Brown Sugar beat Ricky Harris & Red Dog Lane
Dory Funk, Jr. beat Frank Monte
Dick Slater beat Mike Thompson
Mike Rotundo beat Ken Timbs

Thu., 2/10/83 Norfolk, VA; Scope Coliseum
Dizzy Hogan beat Ricky Harris
Mike Rotundo beat Red Dog Lane
Roddy Piper & Jerry Brisco beat Greg Valentine & Dick Slater
Jack Brisco won a battle royal
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Ricky Steamboat

Fri., 2/11/83 Charleston, SC; County Hall
Frank Monte beat Ricky Harris
Tommy Gilbert draw Red Dog Lane
Sweet Brown Sugar beat The Ninja
Dick Slater beat Jerry Brisco
Jack Brisco beat Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ

Sat., 2/12/83 Sumter, SC; Exhibition Center
Frank Monte & Vinnie Valentino beat Ken Timbs & Masa Fuchi
Sweet Brown Sugar beat One Man Gang
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle beat Mike Rotundo & Jerry Brisco
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Jimmy Valiant

Sun., 2/13/83 Asheville, NC; Civic Center
Bill White beat Masa Fuchi
The Ninja beat Vinnie Valentino
One Man Gang beat Dizzy Hogan
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Greg Valentine & Dick Slater
Jimmy Valiant beat Terry Funk
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle by DQ

Sun., 2/13/83 Charlotte, NC; Charlotte Coliseum
Abe Jacobs beat Jim Dalton
Tommy Gilbert & Johnny Weaver beat Gene Anderson & Red Dog Lane
Pvt. Kernodle & Sgt. Slaughter beat Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Dory Funk, Jr. beat Mike Rotundo
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Dick Slater & Greg Valentine
Jimmy Valiant beat Terry Funk

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Roanoke Times Article Features Roanoke Wrestling History

The following is an excerpt from a great article that appeared on the Roanoke Times website in March of 2018. The article gives a nice summary of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling history in Roanoke, focusing on promoter Pete Aposolou, TV announcer Hal Grant, the famous tag team of the Bolos, and WDBJ-TV channel 7 where a live wrestling program for Jim Crockett Promotions was once taped. (We're pleased that the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and contributor Mike Cline were mentioned in the article as well.)

The following is an excerpt. Read the entire article on the Roanoke Times website here:
WOYM: Who were those masked wrestlers of the early days of Roanoke television?
By Ray Cox | Special to The Roanoke Times Mar 11, 2018

It’s a troubled, perilous world we live in these days. Even here at the answer desk, occasionally attention turns to strange and frightening things. Today’s topic involves huge masked men, bright lights, rope, and what dystopian novelist Anthony Burgess once called “ultraviolence.”

Q: Growing up in Wytheville, one of our Saturday afternoon rituals was watching a local TV station airing live “Wrestling from Roanoke.” There was a tag team group promoted as “The Bolo Brothers.” These two men wore masks that their opponents were always trying to take off during the wrestling match. We never knew who these two masked men were. Could you find out who they were and if they were actually from the Roanoke area?
Becky Hudson

A: Before we get to the sinister and intimidating Bolos, some background is in order.

Professional wrestling has a rich history going back many decades from coast to coast, up into Canada and down into Mexico.

A fondly recalled footnote involved the many Star City bouts promoted by Pete Apostolou on behalf of Jim Crockett Promotions.

WDBJ-TV (Channel 7) carried live studio wrestling Saturday afternoons from 1957-67. Early years of the show were staged on the second floor of the offices that still serve The Roanoke Times. Before divesting its broadcasting arm, what was then known as the Times-World Corp. owned the television station.

Beloved WDBJ weatherman Hal Grant handled ringside blow-by-blow and post-match interviews. Apostolou was the color man.

The Bolo Brothers, infamous “heels” — as squared-ring villains were known — were Saturday afternoon regulars on the shows, which were usually preludes to live evening bouts at venues such as the old American Legion Auditorium.

More on the Bolos in a minute......

Read the rest of Ray Cox's piece on the Roanoke Times website.

Also, get all the details on wrestling taped at WDBJ in Roanoke in our Studio Wrestling Directory:
WDBJ-7 Roanoke [Studio Wrestling]

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Chip off the Old Block


 One of Gene Kiniski's trademark moments during ring introductions when he was NWA World Champion was to lift up his ring jacket to show off the NWA World title belt he wore underneath. He was known for it. So much so, a great color photo of him doing that exact thing with the NWA 1959-1973 "crown belt" graced the cover of his biography. 

Years later, when his son Kelly Kiniski worked in the Mid-Atlantic territory, he briefly teamed with One Man Gang (George Grey) and the two held the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championships under the management of Sir Oliver Humperdink as part of Hump's stable, the House of Humperdink.

As a tribute to his father, Kelly would often do the same thing, holding up his ring jacket for photos and ring introductions, as seen in the photo above from 1983.

Incidentally, Kiniski and Gang were the last team to hold these particular belts, which went all the eway back to 1975 with the Anderson Brothers. 

I was happy to come across this photograph, as it's a nice call back from son to father, the latter being one of the great NWA World Champions.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: February 5, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 02/05/83
(taped 02/02/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network Direct Link to this show Mid-Atlantic 02/05/83
WWE Network feed.   [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.]

[CLIP] Greg Valentine vs. The Champ
We start with footage “recently from a large southern arena,” as Caudle says. Greg Valentine vs. The Champ (a masked Brian Blair). Records say this would be 1/30/83 at the Charlotte Coliseum. Sonny Fargo is the referee. Valentine reverses a Thesz press attempt and drops Champ’s throat on the top rope and scores the pin.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones
Jones is clad in a tuxedo. He is holding the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship belt. Brisco is no longer the champion. Notice how they don’t say Jones is the champ. Maybe they’ll explain later.

[Break]

[CLIP] Roddy Piper & Dusty Rhodes vs. Red Dog Lane & Paul Jones
We are back in the arena, same 1/30/83 Charlotte Coliseum show. Roddy Piper & Dusty Rhodes vs. Red Dog Lane & Paul Jones. Piper is destroying Lane. Dusty finishes him off with an elbow for the pin. Piper calls out Slater after the match. The fans are chanting for it too. We got back to Caudle, who tosses it back to the arena. Slater does come down, and it is a brawl. Dory Funk, Jr. and Valentine come in for the triple team. Rhodes tries to make the save, but the heels overwhelm. Valentine & Funk hold Rhodes down as Slater is about to jump off the top onto Rhodes’ leg. Piper is back in and absorbs the blow. Rhodes tangles with Funk, while Valentine holds Piper down. Slater kicks his head like a football.

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper
Piper says keeping him off TV and radio isn’t working. It’s OK, it’s OK. He’s been down before. He knows what it’s like to fight. “Give it your best shot, or don’t bother shooting at all!”

Match 1
Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood d. Rick Harris & Ken Timbs

Caudle recaps the Slater attack. And Paul Jones holding the Mid-Atlantic belt. Good mat wrestling in this match. Tommy Young is the referee for the hour. Youngblood locks the sleeper on Timbs and gets the victory. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
A heavy-breathing Rick Steamboat says how hard it’s been against Slaughter & Kernodle. They are still chasing them. They will be better champs than the current holders.

[Break]

[CLIP] Mid-Atlantic Title Match: Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk, Jr. (Title Change)
We are back at a “big southern arena” (aka 1/30/83 in Charlotte). Caudle and Paul Jones are narrating a Brisco vs. Funk Mid-Atlantic title match. The finish saw Funk toss Brisco out of the ring. Jones, at ringside, slams Brisco into the post. Brisco gets back in the ring, attempts the Figure Four, but Funk reverses it to a roll up for the pin. Paul Jones says he’ll be back to explain more.

Match 2
Non-Title: Dory Funk, Jr. [Mid-Atlantic champ.] d. Tommy Gilbert

Jones sticks around with Caudle. He says he is the president of Dory Funk xxxx (the audio fades out, original production error). He is managing his finances. He is not his flunky, he is Funk’s advisor. Gilbert is competitive, but Funk wins with a straight suplex.

-Comments from Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle and Pvt. Nelson
Taped comments are next. Slaughter and Kernodle are still hot about Sarge’s missing hat. Why is Nelson here? Sarge tells him to stand at attention and gets upset he hasn’t found his hat.

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Greg Valentine, Dick Slater
Valentine says he’s held the United States championship for five months. New York magazines say he is the greatest U.S. champ. He’s been through Wahoo, Piper, Jack Brisco. Slater joins in. So does One Man Gang. Slater is mad at Jimmy Valiant stealing $5,000. Gang has a remedy for stealing. Slater will now be known as Big & Nasty. He is one-third of the Dirty Dozen.

[Break]

Match 3
One Man Gang d. Mike Davis

Davis tries to dodge early, but Gang catches up to him and its curtain. He finishes it with a Big Splash.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Mike Rotundo and Jerry Brisco
Jerry is in a suit. He mocks the way Paul Jones talks and looks. He looks like a penguin. Rotundo gets some comments in and talks abut the TV championship. Mike is still green here. 

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Youngblood talks about the brawls and bloodbaths vs. Slaughter & Kernodle. It has to stop soon. He talked about winning his match with the sleeper. They know about the Cobra Clutch too, from a secret source.

[CLIP] Final of minutes of 18-Man Battle Royal
Caudle pitches it back to “a big arena” i.e. 1/30/83 Charlotte. It is the final of an 18-man battle royal, three men left: Routndo, Funk and Red Dog Lane. The heels attempt a double team to send Rotundo out. Mike holds on, and Lane is out. Funk nearly throws Rotundo out. Mike hangs on, reaches up and grabs Dory and drags him out.

Match 4
NWA TV championship: Mike Rotundo [ch.] d. Frank Monte

Monte misses a knee drop from the top rope. Rotundo gets Monte in an airplane spin and gets the pin.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jimmy Valiant and Jerry Brisco
Not sure if something got edited out, but the Network overdub plays, and Brisco is out and so is Valiant. He is ranting about One Man Gang and the stolen money. You can barely hear anything. I think they mention something about Terry Funk. And…

[TAPE] Comments from Terry Funk
Taped comments from Funk. He hates the New York Jets. Where the women are women, and so are the men. When they get in the ring, Funk will molest Valiant (What!?!). Funk calls Valiant a clown and court jester. 

Valiant reacts, and dares Funk to say that to his face.

"So long for now!"

 

*******************************************************************

Results for the week: 1/31/83-2/06/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)


Mon., 1/31/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Porkchop Cash & King Parsons beat Ken Timbs (sub for Ricky Harris) & Jim Dalton
Dizzy Hogan beat Ricky Harris
Johnny Weaver beat Gene Anderson
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang in a no DQ match
Jack Brisco beat Dick Slater by DQ
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood in a lumberjack match

Tue., 2/01/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Bill White beat Mike Davis
Vinnie Valentino beat Ken Timbs
Johnny Weaver & Tommy Gilbert beat Gene Anderson & Red Dog Lane
Jerry Brisco draw Dory Funk, Jr.
Roddy Piper beat Dick Slater by DQ
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle in a boot camp match

Tue., 2/01/83 Raleigh, NC; Civic Center
Porkchop Cash & King Parsons beat Masa Fuchi & Ricky Harris
Dizzy Hogan beat The Champ(Brian Blair)
Sweet Brown Sugar beat Paul Jones
Mike Rotundo beat Pvt. Nelson
Jack Brisco beat Greg Valentine
One Man Gang beat Jimmy Valiant by DQ

Wed., 2/02/83 Charlotte, NC; WPCQ-TV studio
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Ricky Harris & Ken Timbs
Dory Funk, Jr. beat Tommy Gilbert
One Man Gang beat Mike Davis
Mike Rotundo beat Frank Monte
World Wide Wrestling:
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle beat Dizzy Hogan & Mike Davis
The Champ beat Ricky Harris
Mike Rotundo beat Ken Timbs
Sweet Brown Sugar beat Frank Monte 

Thu., 2/3/83 Sumter, SC; Exhibition Center
Abe Jacobs beat Ken Timbs
Ricky Harris beat Mike Davis
Mike Rotundo beat Dizzy Hogan
Jack Brisco beat Paul Jones
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle by DQ

Thu., 2/03/83 Norfolk, VA; Scope Coliseum
Frank Monte beat Mark Fleming
Porkchop Cash beat Masa Fuchi
Johnny Weaver, Tommy Gilbert & King Parsons beat Pvt. Nelson, Gene Anderson & Red Dog Lane
Dory Funk, Jr. beat Sweet Brown Sugar
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang
Greg Valentine beat The Champ
Roddy Piper beat Dick Slater
 

Fri., 2/04/83 Charleston SC @ County Hall
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle vs. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood in a lumberjack match
Jack Brisco vs. Dizzy Hogan
Sweet Brown Sugar vs. Ricky Harris
Pvt. Nelson vs. Mike Davis
Porkchop Cash & King Parsons vs. Ken Timbs & Masa Fuchi

Fri., 2/04/83 Richmond, VA; Richmond Coliseum
Abe Jacobs & Mark Fleming beat Frank Monte & Jim Dalton
Johnny Weaver beat Paul Jones by DQ
One Man Gang beat Jimmy Valiant by DQ
Mike Rotundo beat Dory Funk, Jr.
Roddy Piper & The Champ beat Greg Valentine & Dick Slater

Sat., 2/05/83 Greensboro, NC; Greensboro Coliseum
Greg Valentine & King Parsons beat Masa Fuchi & Ken Timbs
Dizzy Hogan beat Bill White
Dusty Rhodes beat Gene Anderson
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang
Dick Slater beat Jerry Brisco
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood no contest with Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle

Sun., 2/06/83 Fayetteville, NC; Cumberland County Civic Center
Tommy Gilbert beat The Champ
Mike Rotundo beat Red Dog Lane
Jimmy Valiant beat One Man Gang
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Kernodle beat Dizzy Hogan & Sweet Brown Sugar
Jay Youngblood beat Dory Funk, Jr. in a bounty match
Greg Valentine & Dick Slater beat Mike Rotundo & Jack Brisco
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Ricky Steamboat

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Escape from the Norfolk Scope

George Pantas Remembers
his Night with the Road Warriors

Lamenting the sad and untimely death of Joe Laurinaitis, better known to all of us as Road Warriror Animal, our friend George Pantas recently relayed a fond memory he had with Joe back in the 1980s.

"My first interaction with Joe was actually because David Crockett had asked me at the Norfolk Scope one time if I wouldn’t mind taking Joe, Hawk and Paul Ellering to their hotel in Virginia Beach that night. Of course I said yes!"

THE LEGION OF DOOM
Hawk and Animal of the Road Warriors
 

But there was a flip side that came along with taking care of the Road Warrriors; they were "bad guys" at the time and the situation outside the Scope could get a little hairy when fans spotted bad guys leaving the building.

"I remember being worried that my car would get messed up because they were heels at the time and the fans saw them getting into my car. For some reason Animal carried all their bags and he was blown up by the time he carried them from under the Scope to across the street where I had parked. The fans saw them getting into my car.  I kept telling Joe hurry up, hurry up move fast, move faster. The fans got around the car, but when I started it, they made an opening and I was able to drive away as the fans had their fists in the air. Nothing else happened thank God."

Once in George's car on this hot summer night, though, something funny happened.

"I had a Chevette at the time, a very small car, but I squeezed them in there. It was summertime, I’m thinking July, the humidity was just horrible that night. Joe’s in the front, Paul and Hawk in the back. I have the air conditioner blasting and Paul says to Joe up front, 'Hey Joe, close the window, George has the air-conditioning on.'  

Joe says, 'I can’t close it.'

"I’m thinking, what’s his problem?  All he had to do is just turn the handle."

"Well it turns out, his arms were so big, his chest was so big, sitting in my little car, that something that you and I do for granted, tuck our arms in and turn the handle on the window to close it, he could not do. I still smile about that to this day."

Thanks to George Pantas for his story. Our condolences continue to be extended to Joe Laurinaitis' family and friends. 

Edited by Dick Bourne at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

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The late Rob Riddick, a great friend and wonderful photographer, took several special photos of the Road Warriors over the years. Here are links to a few articles with more:

Brothers in Paint
Road Warrior Face-Off

Heaven Needed Six Man Champions

Photographer Robert Riddick
Rob Riddick's Photo Pages on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archive

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Champions Revisited - Part Four: Ricky Steamboat

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In PART FOUR of our "Grand Slam" feature, we take a look at "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat was the fourth and final wrestler to hold all five of Jim Crockett Promotions' titles during the Mid-Atlantic years, something we here at the Gateway call Crockett's Grand Slam Championship. (For a more complete explanation of the Grand Slam, see PART ONE on Paul Jones.)


The five Crockett titles were:
  • NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • United States Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic/NWA/World Television Championship

There were only four men that held all five titles though their complete tenure in our area. Those men are:
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat

Here is a summary of Ricky Steamboat's amazing championship pedigree in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:


PART FOUR: RICKY STEAMBOAT

MID-ATLANTIC TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
When Ricky Steamboat first entered the Mid-Atlantic area in 1977, he was immediately recognized as one of the up-and-coming "young lions" of professional wrestling. But for a few months he worked mid-card, getting himself established with the Mid-Atlantic fan base. A slow. several-week build found TV champion Ric Flair making fun of Steamboat and interrupting his interviews until finally Steamboat had enough. He challenged Flair for the TV title on episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" taped June 15, 1977 at WRAL studios in Raleigh. Flair didn't really take him seriously....until Steamboat came crashing down on him from the top turnbuckle with a devastating double chop and pinned him for the title. It was Steamboat's big break in the business and set off what would become one of wrestling's most bitter rivalries.


MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
After Steamboat's big win over Flair for the TV title, Paul Jones began to mentor the young superstar, taking him under his wing, and together they defeated Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championship on August 22, 1977 in Charlotte, NC. They lost them two months later to Flair and Big John Studd. But better days were ahead for Steamboat on the tag team front. 


UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Flair made his own comeback of sorts following the TV title loss to Steamboat, defeating Bobo Brazil for the U.S. title. But as soon as he won that championship, fans demanded that Steamboat get a shot at Flair since he had just recently beat him for the TV title. Steamboat captured the famous red-leather United States title belt from Flair on October 21, 1977 in Greensboro, turning his first year in the Mid-Atlantic area into one ladden with championship gold. This title win put Steamboat on the map nationally, and his picture on the cover of wrestling magazines lining the racks at the local news stands.

Steamer lost the title to Blackjack Mulligan in early 1978, but the Flair/Steamboat battle over that title would resume during that same year with the belt being traded back and forth between them. Steamboat would gain that title once more in 1984 when he defeated Dick Slater for the honors.


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
On April 23, 1978, Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones defeated the Masked Superstar and Ken Patera in the finals of a one-night tournament in Greensboro to win the NWA World Tag Team championship. The titles had been stripped from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for their failure to defend them. They would lose them to Greg Valentine and Baron Von Raschke on TV a few months later.

in 1979, Steamboat would find a new partner in Jay Youngblood and the team held the NWA World Tag Team titles on several occasions over the next several years, feuding with Paul Jones and Von Raschke, Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine, Stevens and Jimmy Snuka, Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle, and the memorable feud with Jack and Jerry Brisco. When the NWA tag titles were renewed by promoter Bill Watts for WCW in 1992, Steamboat had yet another run with partner Shane Douglas.


MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The final jewel in Steamboat's Grand Slam crown came in 1980 when he defeated the Iron Sheik for that title on November 1 in Richmond, VA. He lost the title to Ivan Koloff in 1981 but regained it from the Russian later that same year before losing it for good to Roddy Piper in November of 1981.

* * * * * * *

Did you miss our stories on the first three Grand Slam Champions? Visit the links:
"No. 1" Paul Jones
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair 
Greg 'The Hammer" Valentine

Originally published October 31, 2018 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.